Effective March 23, 2015, House Bill 10 of the 130th General Assembly will implement several reforms for public officials charged with the care and management of public funds, including initial and continuing education requirements for local government fiscal officers.
Under section 733.81 of the Ohio Revised Code, enacted by HB 10, municipal fiscal officers, including village fiscal officers, village clerk-treasurers, village clerks, city auditors, city treasurers and any other officers performing duties similar to the listed officers under a charter must complete initial and continuing education courses aimed at improving their background and working knowledge in government accounting, budgeting, financing, preparing financial reports and complying with rules adopted by the Auditor of State.
First term municipal fiscal officers must complete at least six hours of initial education courses either before commencing office or within their first year. Any courses taken that were provided by the Auditor of State under Section 117.44 may be counted toward the six hour requirement.
In addition to the six hours of initial education, first term municipal fiscal officers must complete 18 hours of continuing education courses prior to the end of their first term. Municipal fiscal officers elected or appointed to subsequent terms in office must complete 12 hours of continuing education during each additional term. Section 733.81 authorizes the Auditor of State to determine the number of continuing education hours a person who fills a vacant office must complete. At least two of the 18 continuing education hours for first-term fiscal officers and at least two of the 12 continuing education hours for all other fiscal officers must be in the area of ethics.
The Auditor of State and the Ohio Municipal League have the authority to create and conduct initial and continuing education courses. Courses created and conducted by the Ohio Municipal League first must be approved by the Auditor of State.
The following types of courses apply to the continuing education hours required by Section 733.81.
- Public records trainings provided by the Ohio Attorney General under Section 109.43 of the Ohio Revised Code (only up to three hours)
- CPA professional continuing education approved by the accountancy board under Section 4701.11 of the Ohio Revised Code (only for municipal fiscal officers who are certified public accountants)
- Training provided by the Treasurer of State, known as CPIM, under Section 135.22 of the Ohio Revised Code
Any municipal fiscal officer who teaches a continuing education course will receive credit for that course.
Under Section 733.81 the Auditor of State must create rules for verifying municipal fiscal officers’ completion of initial and continuing education courses. For fiscal officers who complete all required initial and continuing education requirements, the Auditor of State will issue a certificate of completion. Fiscal officers who fail to complete all required initial and continuing education requirements will be issued a failure to complete notification. A failure to complete notification is informational and does not affect the recipient’s ability to hold office.
Municipal corporations are authorized to expend funds on initial and continuing education courses for their fiscal officers.
The Auditor of State has indicated willingness to pro rate the number of continuing education hours current fiscal officers must complete prior to the end of their terms. For example, for fiscal officers in the last year of their current terms, completing three of the 12 required hours (one-fourth of the full-term requirement) by March 31, 2016 will be sufficient to comply fully with the newly enacted law.